Second grade. Windows cracked open, the cut-grass smell noisy in our heads. It's a fun project day and our moods match the end-of-year weather. The ultimate in instant-gratification gardening: the ubiquitous Project Bean Sprout. Styrofoam cups are labeled, the large seeds buried and watered, dirt spread on our desks. The cups lined up in trays on window sills.
I remember that did-it-myself satisfaction, presenting this gift to my mother. Now, on the receiving end, every year since Ethan started preschool, I feel a double pleasure holding my hands out for this sturdy little sprout. The pride of his accomplishment and the memory of my own.